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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pop Goes the Weasel (Helen Grace #02) by M.J. Arlidge {e-Book & Audio}

Pop Goes the Weasel (Helen Grace #02) by M.J. Arlidge
My Rating:  4 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Pop Goes the Weasel
Author:  M.J. Arlidge
Series:  Helen Grace #02
Narrator:  Elizabeth Bower
Length:  eBook - 416 pages; Unabridged; 8 hours and 53 minutes (Audio)
Publisher:  Penguin Group, LLC (eBook)Penguin Audio (Audio)
Published: October 6, 2014 (e-Book & Audio)
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format:  eBook & Audio
Genres:  Fiction; Mystery; Suspense
Subjects: Police Women; Women Detectives; Serial Murder Investigations

From the international best-selling author of Eeny Meeny comes the second thriller featuring Detective Helen Grace.

A man's body is found in an empty house. A gruesome memento of his murder is sent to his wife and children.

He is the first victim, and Detective Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night?

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives.

Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is - or what is waiting for her at the end of the chase....

©2015 M. J. Arlidge (P)2015 Penguin Audio

My Review:
I did enjoy Pop Goes the Weasel more than I did the first title in the Helen Grace series, Eeny Meeny.  I think part of the problem for me is, that I have a hard time reading and enjoying books that take place in other countries.  It's hard for me to get past what I'm used to  and step out of my comfort zone, but I am finding myself reading more and more international titles.

With that being said, I have got to say that M.J. Arlidge writes probably some of the most descriptive stories that I've ever read!  I don't mind gory and twisted, so I applaud his genius stories and his willingness to go where many other authors aren't willing to go!  His writing reminds me of that of Chelsea Cain, in a way.  I must admit, this story has a clever and unique plot, and certainly no one can say that Arlidge didn't muster up his creative juices with this one.

As with reading international titles, I find it just as difficult to listen to them as well.  However, I still think that Elizabeth Bower did a great job narrating this title.

I did struggle with rating this title because I was able to breeze right though it and I didn't not like it, so that made rating it difficult.  I definitely would continue on with the Helen Grace series, if and when a new title is released.  I really think that Arlidge is going places! 

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Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by the Publisher, Penguin Group, LLC, via NetGalley,  in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner {eBook}

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  The Good Neighbor
Author:  A.J. Banner
Series:  Stand Alone
Narrator:  Rebecca Roberts
Length:  eBook - 206 pages; Unabridged; 5 hours and 46 minutes (Audio)
Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing (eBook)Brilliance Audio (Audio)
Published: September 1, 2015 (e-Book & Audio)
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format:  eBook
Genres:  Fiction; Suspense
Subjects:  City and Town Life; Deception; Washington (State)

From a phenomenal new voice in suspense fiction comes a book that will forever change the way you look at the people closest to you...

Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about - quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That's what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah's happiness.

Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true - about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?

©2015 Anjali Banerjee. (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

My Review:
It seems by the reviews that you either love or hate this book.  Many I know, hate it!  I, myself, found that I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I felt like the writing was great, especially for a first-time novel.  I was amazed at how quickly A.J. Banner's writing drew me in and kept my attention throughout the entire book.  Something that even experienced author's have trouble doing on a regular basis.

The story was short, but long enough to get the point across.  It was difficult to figure out what was going to happen next and who was to blame for what was happening.  A Good Neighbor was enough to make you wonder if even you yourself can trust your loved ones, your neighbors, and those that are closest to you!

I think that Banner is really onto something great with this book, and I will be interested to see if this becomes a series!  If there was anything I didn't like about the book, it was the way the ending was left to the imagination!  It left me wanting more!!!! 

Overall, I think that Banner did a stellar job writing this first novel, and I am excited to see what is to come in her future!  I think this writer has the potential to go extremely far and that she has done a wonderful job at writing her first novel!

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Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by the Publisher, Lake Union Publishing (of Amazon), via NetGalley,  in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Competition (Rachel Knight #04) by Marcia Clark {eBook & Audio}

The Competition (Rachel Knight #04) by Marcia Clark
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  The Competition
Author:  Marcia Clark
Series:  Rachel Knight #04
Narrator:  January LaVoy
Length:  eBook - 416 pages; Unabridged; 13 hours and 17 minutes (Audio)
Publisher:  Mulholland Books (eBook)Hachette Audio (Audio)
Published: July 8, 2014 (e-Book & Audio)
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format:  eBook & Audio
Genres:  Fiction; Legal Stories; Suspense
Subjects:  Public Prosecutors; Women Lawyers; Police; School Shooting

In Marcia Clark's most electrifying thriller yet, Los Angeles District Attorney Rachel Knight investigates a horrifying high school massacre.

A Columbine-style shooting at a high school in the San Fernando Valley has left a community shaken to its core. Two students are identified as the killers. Both are dead, believed to have committed a mutual suicide.

In the aftermath of the shooting, LA Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight teams up with her best girlfriend, LAPD detective Bailey Keller. As Rachel and Bailey interview students at the high school, they realize that the facts don't add up. Could it be that the students suspected of being the shooters are actually victims? And if so, does that mean that the real killers are still on the loose?

A dramatic leap forward in Marcia Clark's highly acclaimed Rachel Knight series, The Competition is an unforgettable story that will stay with listeners long after the book ends.

©2014 Marcia Clark (P)2014 Hachette Audio

My Review:
In the past, I mentioned that with each book, I had a harder time figuring out which story I liked best, but I think that The Competition was, HANDS DOWN, my favorite title of the entire series!!!!  I am devastated to think that Marcia Clark may end with the series here!  I think that she has such a great thing going with this series and I certainly hope that this isn't the end for Rachel Knight and her crew!

It's not very often that you find a series, that you enjoy the entire cast of main characters, but this is the case for this series!  Each character brings so much to the table, and it's purely pleasurable to be able to continue to learn about them and grow with them as characters.

Marcia Clark has taken a very controversial subject and turned it into a stellar story!  She created many different twists and turns, that kept you guessing clear into the end, who was to blame for all the chaos!  I think as a former Prosecutor, that Clark has a unique opportunity to share the best of all worlds in mystery writing, and I think she uses her knowledge exceptionally!  I also love that she provides explanations for things that normal people might not know the meaning of.

I really hope to see more in the Rachel Knight series, and hope to find more from Marcia Clark coming out very soon!  She is a top-notch author, who has really found her niche in writing and is carving out a spot for herself as a top writer in the legal stories/mystery genre!  PLEASE COME BACK WITH MORE RACHEL KNIGHT!  I CAN'T BARE TO THINK THAT THIS IS THE END FOR HER!!!

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Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by the Publisher, Mulholland Books, via NetGalley,  in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger {Audio}

Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger
My Rating:  4 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Crazy Love You
Author:  Lisa Unger
Series:  Stand Alone
Narrator:  Jeremy Bobb
Length:  9 hours and 49 minutes
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Audio
Published:  August 3, 2015
Source:  Publisher via Audiobook Jukebox
Format:  Unabridged Audio
Genres:  Fiction; Psychological; Suspense
Subjects:  Best Friends; Triangles (Interpersonal Relations); Self-Destructive Behavior
No one writes "good scary fun" (The Washington Post) better than New York Times best-selling master of psychological suspense Lisa Unger. With more than 1.7 million books sold in more than thirty countries, it's clear why USA TODAY declared that her thrillers "should be on everyone's to-read list."

Falling in love can feel like a dream - or a living nightmare.

Darkness has a way of creeping up when Ian is with Priss. Even when they were kids, playing in the woods of their small Upstate New York town, he could feel it. Still, Priss was his best friend, his salvation from the bullies who called him "loser" and "fatboy" - and from his family's deadly secrets.

Now that they've both escaped to New York City, Ian no longer inhabits the tortured shell of his childhood. He is a talented and successful graphic novelist, and Priss - Priss is still trouble. The booze, the drugs, the sex... Ian is growing tired of late nights together trying to keep the past at bay. Especially now that he's met sweet, beautiful Megan, whose love makes him want to change for the better. But Priss doesn't like change. Change makes her angry. And when Priss is angry, terrible things begin to happen.

©2015 Lisa Unger. All rights reserved. (P)2015 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

My Review:
Lisa Unger's titles have been hit and miss for me in the past.  I didn't care much for her book Fragile, however, I absolutely loved her novella series, The Whispers.   Crazy Love You totally fell into the hit category for me!

If you are looking for a story that will take you way beyond the depths of your imagination, you will find it with this title!  There is nothing about this title that is normal, from the characters to the story, but it's not a confusing crazy, but more of an entertaining, keep you guessing kind of crazy.

I honestly couldn't tell you, throughout the entire story, what was going to happen next.  Every time that I thought that I had  what was going on figured out, something totally different and drastic happened!  I think that Unger cleverly wrote this title.  It is unique and I've never read anything like it!

The narrator, Jeremy Bobb couldn't have been a better fit for this story.  He kept a good, smooth flowing pace, changed his voice adequately for each character, and showed the high and low points throughout the story!  Stellar performance from the narrator!

Overall, I must say that Crazy Love You is like none other, and if for nothing else, this garners a higher rating in my book!  I'm sure that the more titles that come out, the harder it gets to be creatively unique, but I think that Lisa Unger hit the nail on the head with this one!

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Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by the Publisher, Simon & Schuster Audio, via Audiobook Jukebox, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter {Audio}

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter
My Rating:  5 of 5 Butterflies

Title:  Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes
Author:  Karin Slaughter
Series:  Stand Alone
Narrator:  Kathleen Early
Length:  2 hours and 23 minutes
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio
Published:  August 3, 2015
Source:  Publisher via Audiobook Jukebox
Format:  Unabridged Audio
Genres:  Fiction; Mystery; Suspense; Thriller
Subjects:  Missing Persons Investigation; Women College Students;
Michael Connelly calls Karin Slaughter "unrivaled among thriller writers." This gripping, unforgettable short story - releasing shortly before Karin's highly anticipated new novel Pretty Girls - proves it.

A beautiful young girl was walking down the street - when suddenly …

Julia Carroll knows that too many stories start that way. A beautiful and intelligent nineteen-year-old college freshman, she should be carefree. But instead she is frightened - because girls are disappearing without a trace.

Fellow student Beatrice Oliver and a homeless woman called Mona-No-Name are missing, both gone after being snatched off the street. Julia is determined to discover the reason behind their disappearances - before she's next.

©2015 Karin Slaughter (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

My Review:
For a short story/novella, this title has it all!  It was captivating...mesmerizing...engaging...thrilling!!  Do you get the point?  And all of that happens in less than three hours of listening!  You can't get any more amazing than that!

I think that novella's are a special breed of writing, and some writes have the niche for it, and other's don't...some writers write them to perfection, other are a colossal failure!  Karin Slaughter's Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes definitely falls under the perfection category!

This was my first title by this author, and I honestly don't think that I could have selected a better first, at least for wanting to continue reading works by this author!  I've been wanting to check out her work for a few years now, it just seems that I can never get around to it!  You all know how those ridiculously long TBR piles are!!  I am super stoked to say that I have read a Karin Slaughter book, and I most definitely can guarantee you that I will read many more titles to come!

Kathleen Early is totally on point as a narrator of this story, but then again, I haven't found a title that I've listened to of hers that she hasn't met the criteria of perfections!  She is totally awesome at changing her voice to suit other characters, especially children, and leaves me mystified at her greatness!  Awesome choice in narrators!

Overall, you can't go wrong with reading Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes!  I mean, seriously, what other title can you have finished in one setting, and put the book down feeling totally fulfilled and satisfied as if you just read a full-scale novel?  Right here...that's where!

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Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by the Publisher, Blackstone Audio, via Audiobook Jukebox, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin {eBook & Audio}

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
My Rating:  3 of 5 Stars

Title:  Black-Eyed Susans
Author:  Julia Heaberlin
Series:  Stand Alone
Narrator:  Whitney DykhouseEric G. Dove; & Karen Peakes
Length:  eBook - 368 pages; Unabridged; 10 hours and 09 minutes (Audio)
Publisher:  Ballantine Books of Penguin Random House (eBook)Brilliance Audio (Audio)
Published: June 18, 2013 (e-Book & Audio)
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format:  eBook & Audio
Genres:  Fiction; Suspense
Subjects:  Murder Victims; Serial Murders; Witnesses

For fans of Laura Lippman and Gillian Flynn comes an electrifying novel of stunning psychological suspense.

I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.

I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving "Black-Eyed Susan," the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa's testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans - a summertime bloom - just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications - that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large - Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories - and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.

What they don't know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

©2015 Julia Heaberlin (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Recorded by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House LLC

My Review:
This book started out with such great potential, but unfortunately, I didn't feel like it carried out throughout the remainder of the book!  I found myself drawn to the story, interested in what was happening, and lost in my reading for the first part, but it seemed to quickly fizzle out for me, leaving me anxious to get to the end.  

I thought that the idea behind the story was a great one, one that made me grab up this title as quickly as I possibly could.   However, I found myself wondering just how much of this book I had left mid-ways throughout.  The idea behind it was great, but it just didn't seem to carry out well for me.

I can't say that the narration was entirely memorable.  Not even a month after listening to Black-Eyed Susans, if I wouln't have looked, I don't think I could have told you that there were three narrators.  However, I have listened to books that I deemed 3 stars, that I otherwise would have rated differently had I read that title rather than listened.  Some narrators totally ruin a story, at least for me, and this story was not one of them for me.  They were pleasant to listen to, overall.

I think some of what put me aside was the back and forth of the story.  At times, it was hard to follow just what part in time you were listening to.  That made it become a distraction.  However, through everything, I must say that this book has left me with many mixed feelings, thus rendering this review quite difficult for me!  I would at least like to say that I would absolutely give this title a solid 3.5 rating!

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Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by the Publisher, Ballantine Books (of Penguin Random House), via NetGalley,  in return for an honest and unbiased review.


All blogs and reviews posted here are the sole property of the blogger and represent my very own opinions. In some cases, books reviewed are supplied to me in exchange for an honest review. Such cases will be noted on the blog post.

All other books reviewed have been purchased or borrowed through the normal channels.

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Andrea has read 65 books toward her goal of 100 books.

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AMAZING!!! Go get this book right now!!

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